You’ve probably heard the term “virtualization,” but might not be fully versed in what it is and what it can mean for your business. When it comes down to it, virtualization is not all that hard to understand; you just need to know some basics about how it works. In this blog we’ll walk through the concepts involved, as well as the benefits that can be reaped from virtualizing your infrastructure.
Most business networks contain at least one fileserver, and often several. Fileservers are beefy computers that handle centralized applications, like accounting and CRM, and centralized services like printing and security. All fileservers, or simply “servers” require an operating system, or OS, like Windows or Unix to operate. Traditionally, there is one OS running on each physical server in a 1 to 1 relationship. Virtualization changes that. Instead of installing one server operating system on one physical server, virtualization allows multiple instances of an OS to run on a single physical machine. Essentially you get the use of many “virtual” fileservers running on only one physical computer.
This capability to run multiple versions of an OS on one machine is enabled by virtualization software like VMWare or Zenworks. The virtualizing operating system takes control of the hardware resources and shares them amongst several virtualized servers. It does this by creating “Virtual Hardware” for the servers that it’s hosting. As far as those servers are concerned (if a server could be concerned with such things), they’re sitting on their own hardware out on the network. However, in reality, they all reside on one physical computer and share its resources.